「The water depth up to where the mire begins is about seventy centimeters. Rafts can easily float.」
「That’s pretty deep. Well, I definitely don’t want to swim it.」
Everyone nodded at Makoto’s comment when they noticed the black, poisonous purple, yet oddly vivid blue surace of the water. Even if they did drink panacea potions, no one was going to step a single foot near this liquid.
「And so the good option is to use the rafts. But can you make them？」
「Heck yeah, rafts are easy peasy. Plus I have a buncha wood supplies I ain’t used.」
「How long does it take to make?」
「15 minutes with our team’s size, but I don’t like the idea of goin’ out immediately, so first let’s have Haruna-san practice ‘n try makin’ a small one.」
Hiroshi told Makoto what he thought before bringing out the materials right away. Tatsuya and Makoto just shook their heads at the mountain of wood that came out.
「Hiroshi-kun. I thought we ran out of wood, but we still have this much？」
「Remnants from makin’ storage for miso, mill ends from makin’ the True Furnace Tower, rebuildin’ Kakashi-san’s workshop, we got a lot mate」
Haruna asked the same question on Tatsuya and Makoto’s mind, and Hiroshi explained roughly how they got the amount they did. In most cases, supplies could never be fit evenly, especially when it came to larger scale factories.
Then again, the leftovers from the miso and soy sauce storages were due to the elves/forest giants going at it a little too hard and taking down every tree monster around them, pushing a large amount of wood supplies on Hiroshi even though he had no idea what to do with it.
「Anyhoo, Haruna-san. This is prolly the last part of Making Mastery, so do yer best.」
「……Rafts do that much for levelling？」
「Well not on yer first try obviously. It’s too hard to make small boats without doin’ rafts first.」
「……Yeah, totally agree on that.」
Haruna expressed to Hiroshi, getting on the job. Following his instructions, she found some decent sized logs and tied them together with maneater vines. After one hour, she had made a raft with enough space for one person to ride on.
「Phew, that was tiring……」
「Good job. I went ahead ‘n made one myself, so first let’s check out yers.」
Hiroshi said, throwing the raft onto the swamp that Haruna had made and pushing it out with a smash kick. The raft, now moving at fiercely high speeds, suddenly got launched away by something and split into pieces.
「Okay, as expected. Bro, Mio, go ahead ‘n git the projectiles ready.」
「Looks like it’s time for the big one.」
Looking at the gigantic fish (a fusion between a goby and catfish), the group quickly began their counterattack. Judging by the size of the miasma, this was probably a mid-boss. The miasma in the swamp was the thickest with this fish while the other fish were normal-sized and with less miasma, so they were not an issue.
「This is Hiroshi we’re talking about, so I thought he’d say take out the fishing rod, but not this time I guess」
「Well it’s a bit far for that. The string wouldn’t go that far.」
Hiroshi told Makoto why he wasn’t going for the fishing. In fact, if it weren’t for the distance issue, Hiroshi could easily catch the fish with his fishing skill and raw horsepower. However, when you were separated by more than 100 meters, you really couldn’t throw that far. The fishing rod wasn’t even made to reach that far.
「So with that, here’s the next one!」
「Ready whenever you are」
Tatsuya and Mio announced they were ready, and Hiroshi smashed the second raft into the inlet. And this time, to deal with the giant fish…
Tatsuya and Mio unleashed their coup de gras.
Tatsuya had the usual octocannon, which was normally 25 meters, but extended with mana. It also had the newly-added four level activation sequence, which shot out four times the original amount. The big fish’s miasma was slightly less than Barold’s first form, so it wouldn’t be able to escape with no damage.
Mio’s Snipe Roar was an advanced shooting skill specializing in distance and penetration. It cost the least out of all the defense-piercing skills, but it didn’t have any added effects like Armor Break and wasn’t all that high in the ranking of power adjustment, simply good at KOing enemies with critical hits.
Those two moves hit the fish right on point as it howled, fiercely charging at the group, but-
Hiroshi launched it away with a smash attack before it got on land,
「So we take it down to three」
Makoto used her Gale Slash. Maybe things would be different if they just got here, but by this point a mere mid-boss, not even as strong as Barold’s first form, was no enemy for them.
「……I didn’t even get a piece of the action……」
Haruna was the only one who didn’t attack the midboss, mumbling slightly sadly. She felt left out for not being able to add to the combo chain.
「Ah～、I was really getting into it、sorry」
「I know, but I didn’t even get to use support magic.」
Haruna pouted, looking at the fish fillet before them. Makoto also saw it and slightly regretted using her special move for overkill.
「……And we probably can’t eat it……」
「THAT is what you care about！？ Heck, you even seem more regretful about that instead of being left out of the action！？」
「Well yeah, because that’s even less for me to do！？」
Haruna shot back at Makoto. She couldn’t use support, couldn’t attack, and they couldn’t eat the enemy, sp she couldn’t cook. In other words, Haruna was useless in the entire ordeal.
「Haru, sure we can’t？」
「It’s super poisonous, so it’s impossible with only a little cleansing. Hiroshi-kun might be able to, but I don’t guarantee it tastes good.」
Haruna firmly denied Mio’s question. Also, even if poison extracting had succeeded, it was doubtful if there would be any meat left to consume.
「……Yeah, better not……」
「Mhm. No food. Hiroshi-kun, any other ideas？」
「Only for antidotes, methinks. Plus there are many alternatives.」
「So we just discard it」
「Yup. I thought it’d be a great opportunity for fish food but this ain’t it chief」
Hiroshi and Haruna threw the fish back into the swamp. Makoto opened her mouth in an awkward manner as she saw this.
「Sooo…let’s say we had just cut off the head rather than used Gale Slash. Would we have gotten any ingredients？」
「I dunno. It ain’t like the organs would yield much even if ya used a coup de gras.」
It was a pretty anticlimatic boss overall. Even the giant coral fish they fought in seconds made for good food. Well either way, both bosses were defeated in seconds.
「Well trash is trash either way. Let’s get on with it.」
「Roger. The next one’s probably a big boss, and you’ll definitely have a role to play in it, Haruna. Cheer up.」
「Mm. Can’t just keep complaining, so I’ll do that.」
Chided by Makoto (even though it was her fault), Haruna decided to recompose herself. She had lately stood out for her eroticness and craftsman skills, but finally Haruna showed a logical side.
「Now then, what’s happenin’ next.」
「I’m hungry, so I’d like to eat before we get to the boss.」
The miasma showed no signs of faltering despite defeating the mid-boss. The group was still very self-absorbed, casually eating in this situation.
「Here they are……」
「As expected, not a challenge at all」
「You choose to say that now?」
Dark lords A and B mumbled as they observed Hiroshi’s team near the tunnel exit. They oversaw the western countries and deeply hated these intruders who crushed their plans. They must end this now so that casualties did not spread to the other regions.
「So what now？」
「We must wait for them to leave the tunnel. Judging by their toughness, sending mobs into a narrow space would only end with each one being taken out.」
「Yeah. But are you sure we fight with numbers？」
「I can’t think of any other way to effectively tire them out. Plus, it’s better than not doing anything to at least annoy them.」
Lord A nodded at Lord B. Honestly, it was unpleasant for only the two of them to pick fights with Hiroshi’s group based on what happened. However, with powerful purification attacks being launched on Igreos Temple’s treasury, the miasma was at an all time low and it was difficult to seek help from lords from other regions.
「Then what shall we use for this battle of numbers？」
「I say Barold. We’re used to manufacturing him and the cost is cheap. We could send out 100 and it would be relatively cost effective.」
「But surely they are also accustomed to him. Is this really okay？」
「There are no other options for immediate, cheap battle power.」
B nodded at A. Now that Hiroshi’s group was able to unleash coup de gras, they could easily take out behemoth-class opponents. However, their own expenditures in energy would not be anything to overlook. Barold’s two forms working together to become the tower golem was because they took on a large amount of miasma to unify with it.
They couldn’t do anything reckless now that they had unleashed miasma to interfere with Earth Mother Goddess Elza. Also, after doing such reckless things, it would be even worse if Hiroshi’s group defeated these mobs and then got all the good ingredients from them like with Farlane Barold or Crest Cave.
Therefore, as they couldn’t produce female monsters in this region, there were no good ingredients besides cores, and other than Barold who had a sizeable amount of power without going into his second form, there weren’t any amazing options.
「Anyhow, if we do not take them down here, our plan is in jeopardy.」
「Yes. We must take them down right here right now.」
The dark lords set themselves to complete their mission. Their phrases were all death flags, so it was likely what kind of end they would face, coming closer and closer.